By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. An estimated 109 hectares of new and (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. (and thats not even talking about global warming…) What to do about this impending food crisis? Many think the solution might lie in urban “skyscraper farms”.
Indoor farming is not a new concept, of course. A wide variety of produce, including tomatoes, herbs and spices, have been grown indoors quite successfully for many years. What is new, however, is the growing need to scale this technology to mass-production, to accomodate the rapidly accelerating migration of people from rural areas to cities. Skyscraper farms have enormous potential to improve both the urban and rural environment in many ways. They “green” up the concrete jungle, providing more plants and more carbon-dioxide conversion in polluted urban areas. They also allow the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed by decades of industrial horizontal farming.
The The Vertical Farm Project is an excellent website devoted to all-things urban agriculture. Currently it is showcasing a design proposal by french architect Pierre Sartoux, called the Living Tower. I haven’t got round to trying to translate Sartoux website yet (which is in French, and in Flash) ? so I don’t know very much about this project yet, other than c’est hypercool!